Saturday, October 18, 2014

Names, Names, Names

It only took a month...
 Sixth graders completed their radial name designs with analogous color schemes. The had to design a square, flip and trace it four times, outline the pencil lines in sharpie and color with analogous color scheme. Most of them came out AMAZING, and the kids were excited with the results. I wanted to show this one because it had a moment of problem-solving.. the student messed up his radial symmetry on the tracing stage and figured out how to cut it apart, rearrange, and reattach the quadrants to achieve radial symmetry.
 My seventh graders made their names pop out in one point perspective, shading the perspective lines for atmospheric perspective, and added backgrounds to increase the sense of space. I loved how James, above, put his name in a wrestling ring.
 These 2 were my superstars. Really good craftsmanship and creative backgrounds. Gabby's on the "road of life", and Gianna is a superhero...
 My eighth graders used Alexander Calder as inspiration for a name sculpture. They had to illustrate each element of art in their letters, than use hinges and slots to connect their pieces into a 3-dimensional work of art.
 Making the letters was excruciating.. some thought it was boring, others went over-the-top in their craftsmanship and took forever. But once they got to the sculptural stage they got way more into it and thought it turned out to be a really interesting project. They are all over the school now, and we've gotten lots of compliments.
It would be fun next year to maybe do this as a group project with one massive sculpture per class or grade....
My kids are settling into our routines and I've made some good connections- especially with my 8th graders (oh, I was so worried....). If the rest of the year goes this well I will be one blissful art teacher!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

One month in

So...Middle School rocks!
I am so happy in my new position. I have ENOUGH planning time to ACTUALLY DO MY JOB. This is huge, because in past years I had very little prep time and was staying after school for at least an hour or more every day to catch up on grading, photographing work for artsonia, and hanging work in the halls. I've even, for the most part, had enough time to write my lesson plans while at school instead of bringing them home over the weekend. I'm happy and my family is happy because they actually get to see me and I'm not super stressed out all the time.

Middle Schoolers are funnyyyyyyyy. I love my kids and their questions and stories and jokes, and generally behavior has been pretty good. I've only given one demerit so far, and had to yell only 2-3 times. I haven't cried out of frustration or exhaustion. I've laughed a lot and worked through some difficult behaviors with a good sense of humor.

Also in middle school, I can expect them to do a lot more with writing, vocabulary, and image analysis. We've got a routine going called "Quiet 5", where they come in, get their sketchbooks, and immediately get started on a quick warm-up activity. It's really helped with behavior and learning concepts. Just hearing me say something does not instill it in their brains. But writing things down, and drawing examples is working, and I can tell because of the quality of their written reflections at the end of projects.
Here's a glimpse of what's been happening in My Blue Art Room (which isn't blue anymore, but whatever, it's lilac now but I'm not changing the title of my blog, so plbbbt!):
My 5th graders made a name collage ala Ellsworth Kelly by collaging the letters of their name, measuring a grid, cutting the pieces apart, then puzzling and collaging them back together in a random way. They learned about contrasting and complementary colors, We also talked about emphasis. Not everybody got that, but the student who made the one above did! She added the black diamond to make her letters feel pulled into the center. I took all the squares from a class and combined them into collaborative displays like the one below:
 My 6th graders learned about radial symmetry and created these name mandalas. They first drew their name to fill a tissue paper square, then repeated it in all 4 corners. They also learned about analogous colors and selected a limited palette for their designs. I have them arranged in the hall to flow through the colorwheel.
 I haven't photographed any 7th grade projects yet, but we're doing 1 point perspective with their names. And 8th grade is reviewing the elements of art and using the letters of their names in a Calder-inspired stabile sculpture.
Here's a glimpse of what's coming down the pipeline: 5th grade colorwheel paintings, the grade 2 -pt perspective lego paintings, and 8th grade fake advertisements. Did I mention I actually have time to do things like make new exemplars?!!
And my favorite part is when my 8th grade portfolio prep group comes to visit me at lunchtime twice a week! We are currently doing pencil drawings of still-life objects. This crew is planning on applying to the Creative and Performing Arts High School which requires a portfolio audition, and I'm trying to give them time to prepare. They have to be done by  December, which will be here before we know it.
I miss my little guys at the elementary school, but so far so good with middle school kids. (as long as I can manage to keep a straight face)